New Year resolutions are like political manifestos.
Both are promises made to be broken but you still need them in your life because what’s the alternative? You can’t wake up every morning believing that nothing will get better.
So for better or worse, we renew our gym memberships and cut back on soft drinks when January comes knocking. You know what would make things easier though? If our politicians joined us in this annual crusade of self-improvement.
Here’s what we would like to see on our politicians’ resolution lists:
We hear that cultural issues are to blame but nobody knows what SMRT’s culture actually is.
We read of employees being charged with “cheating” but it is unclear how this has anything to do with service disruptions.
Until now, we don’t even know if the breakdowns are caused by signalling changes, poor maintenance or some combination of both plus a third factor.
All we know is that no one can get from point A to point B in good time.
Forget fixing the trains or committing harakiri. Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s first priority should be to tell everyone what the hell is going on. How on earth did we get from first-class public transport to makeshift canal? What went wrong?
If you do not come clean about SMRT’s problems, then you have no right to ask for sympathy or patience.
Most people think that Tan Chuan-Jin is finished after he was demoted from full Minister to Speaker.
On the contrary, I think that his political career is just beginning.
Think about it. If you are passed over for promotion and given a ceremonial but permanent role, what would you do? Would you a) continue to fade away or b) use this newfound position to challenge your overlords and make society better?
I hope that TCJ does the latter. Parliament is the perfect platform and his past ministerial experience gives him a unique authority to check our all-too-powerful executive branch. He can shut down the sycophants, let the opposition fire at will with criticism, and generally refuse to be a rubber-stamp like his predecessors.
Perhaps he can be the ownself-check-ownself that we never saw coming.
Best of all, he can do all of this with little danger to himself because everyone in the cabinet has repeatedly said that TCJ is ‘very suited’ to the role of speaker. They can’t really demote him again without looking very stupid on camera.
It is mind-blowing to remember that Nicole Seah was only 24 when she ran for office against Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. It is also very embarrassing.
I just turned 25 and most of Year 24 was spent watching Rick and Morty on repeat.
My point is, it’s rare to find young politicians who are willing and able to run against the establishment. It is also refreshing to glimpse a real person who suffers from doubts and uncertainty as Ms Seah does. Someone who can admit to feeling like a fraud will always have my vote over some forty-something blowhard who only knows how to say ‘resilience’ whilst having their nappies changed by an ‘Anchor Minister’.
So I hope she stops ‘volunteering’ with the WP and give politics a second chance. If she’s really 7 years older and wiser as some sources suggest, her opponents should be running for cover.
I am not a lawyer and I do not know if the AHTC lawsuit is politically motivated. However, I will be very sad if the town council saga proves responsible for Low Thia Khiang’s retirement. The Worker’s Party is the only force that really checks the PAP in parliament right now and nobody nails the hard questions like Low, the only man who dares call our Prime Minister a hypocrite.
However, retirement as an MP does not mean that the end of politics. After giving a clean slate to the new generation of WP members, he should start a blog. His Facebook profile has 28K followers but none of his parliamentary fire that made him famous.
This needs to be remedied immediately. I want to hear what Low Thia Khiang thinks about important issues, not what the Straits Times thinks Low Thia Khiang thinks.
The Reform Party needs to take its own advice and reform because you can’t go into an election with damaged goods. M Ravi has been charged with assault, Roy Ngerng has left for Taiwan and the man-in-charge Kenneth Jeyaretnam lost all political legitimacy 2 years ago when he said: “Singaporeans get the government they deserves, so I don’t want to hear any more complaints.”
I do not know what kind of MP I want, but I certainly don’t want a tantrum on CNA.
However, hope is not entirely lost for the Reform Party because Kenneth Jeyaretnam has a younger brother yet untarnished by defeat or weird statements made on the internet. Enter Philip Jeyaretnam, occasional civil servant, Cambridge-educated lawyer and strangely enough – bestselling author. Is he the true heir to JBJ’s unfinished legacy?
There’s only one way to find out.
So let’s keep our fingers crossed as we countdown to 2018. Perhaps one of these resolutions will magically make it to a politicians’ list, and restore balance to the force.